Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Vincent Zandri, Sponsored by Budweiser Beer!

"This Bud's for you Dear Reader!"

Lately there's been talk amongst publishers, agents, and authors alike that E-Books might one day be offered to the public for free (ok, I know this is happening now, but I mean ALL E-Books). Instead of the reader paying the author/publisher, sponsors will pay in exchange for product placement inside the text. Since the books are read via electronic reader, readers will be able to link to specific product websites, and even to that author's own books should the opportunity present itself.

I wondered if a scenerio of sponsorship is realistic or if I even unintentionally mention the name of popular products and services inside the text of my books and more importantly, if I did so organically. In other words, do these products become included in the story because they belong there or because I might want them there in order to collect a payment?

Here's a small chapter of a new novel I'm working on, Moonlight Rises (the sequel to Moonlight Falls). Let's see how many instances of product placement there are without me forcing them into the text (I'm not gonna link to all of them because I'm a writer more than a blogger and I've got a lot of work to do...but you get the point!).

Darkness fills the bedroom.

How long had I been asleep. An hour? Three? It had to be at least three. I looked at my fifteen dollar Target special wrist watch. Fifteen past seven. I’d slept for over five hours. I slid off the bed, more than a bit groggy. There was some blood smeared on the bed sheet from where I rolled over onto my side. I touched my shirt and found that it was wet. I turned on the lamp, pulled off the shirt and the old dressing, checked the wound in the mirror above the dresser. The stitches were still intact. I put on a fresh dressing and a clean shirt. I’d slept long enough. Time to get to work. Find out if Paul Czeck was who he says he was, and if he was in fact looking for a man whom he swore he was his biological father.

I had the Dell laptop open on the kitchen counter, a Bud tall boy open beside it. Thank God for Verizon wireless internet. Allowed me to multi-task. I switched onto Google and typed in the name “Paul Czeck” in the search engine. Not a damn thing came up. Nothing about him belonging to a professional society of engineers, nothing regarding high school or college alumni. No Facebook page, or Twitter account. As far as the internet and social media was concerned, Czeck was anonymous. And considering he worked for a facility that dealt on a daily basis with classified nuclear information, maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be.

I sat back, took a sip of beer.

The pain in my side was getting worse. I tapped the wound gently with my fingers. It sent a small shockwave of sting up and down my side. The Lidocane had officially worn off. I got up, found the Advils in the cabinet above the sink, poured four into my hand. Sitting back down at the table, I swallowed all four with a swig of beer.

Next search. I got the website for The New York State Society for CPA’s. Now there was some excitement. I typed in the name, Howard Roth. I got a single business address that was located downtown, Broadway. Not far from where those three thugs beat the snot out of me. I wrote the address down on a Post-a-Note, stuffed it into my wallet. Tomorrow I’d go pay a visit to Mr. Roth’s office, see if he did in fact look like the man in Czeck’s black and white photo, only thirty-plus years older.

Next item. Maybe there was nothing noteworthy about Czeck on the web, but I could bet the mortgage he was located in the White Pages. And that’s the way it turned out. He lived in a North Albany suburb called Loudonville. Four Orchard Grove. It’s exactly where I would be heading that evening, soon as Georgie got here.

So there you have it. You count the instances of product placement. And I'll admit, I forced a couple in there, like the Target wrist watch one. But I did that to make a point: if as authors we wanted to cash in a on product placement, you see how easy it would be.

However, I was shocked to learn that popular products and services do appear more than I thought in my work. I wonder if they appear often enough for these companies to pay the author for their appearance much like film production companies collect a hefty payment for product placement in their popular movies? Only the future knows.

For now, I have to get back to work on the novel, and the all important climax which just happens to be taking place at McDonalds which this week is featuring oatmeal for breakfast and a return of the all beef, double.....


  1. Interesting concept, Vince. Let me know when they contact you.

  2. I have to wonder if you keep doing this just because you get some kind of sick thrill out of me calling you a dang tease for torturing me with Moonlight stuff. You know I'm anxious to read the next one!

    I do the same thing...only my stuff is Coach bag, Victoria Secret lingerie and Prada shoes...Didn't know I was high maintenance did you?